Washington, District of Columbia 2021-04-22 10:00:31 –
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (AP) — Father’s Arms, Tiara Shine, Fuchsia Enters the Magic Quinceañera …
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (AP) — Entering the magical Quinceañera with his father’s arms, tiaras shimmer, fuchsia ball gowns trimmed with frills match the cake perfectly, and Adriana Palma scans the crowd. I searched for a familiar face.
Most of the guests were strangers. But they soon become like a family — without them, this Parisian pink fairy tale at their 15th birthday party would never come back to life.
At least one very important person was missing — Adriana’s grandmother who would have given wisdom and special gifts according to custom. She remained in Mexico.
“Don’t worry,” a homeless shelter volunteer told Adriana before the February celebration. “Today we are all your Godmothers.”
When a teenager left Mexico in early 2020, she was looking forward to a new life in Miami with her parents and three younger brothers. But when the pandemic broke out, her father’s job disappeared.
Poor alone, they lived in an SUV for four months. Adriana and her brother were hungry and unfamiliar with English and were stuffed with homework whenever they could find WiFi.
The Miami Rescue Mission was flooded with housing requests after the pandemic, but in June they found a small apartment for Palmas. The family slowly adapted to the new routine.
However, Adriana’s 15th birthday is approaching. She had been dreaming since she was a child. Quinceañera is respected by Hispanic culture and is celebrated with all the courage of the wedding. But after his father lost his job, Adriana said, “I lost all my hope of getting a job.”
Itzel Palma tried to comfort her daughter.
“We will be together as a family,” she told her. “It will be my gift to you.”
Lian Navarro, a community development associate at the Miami Rescue Mission, asks caseworkers every month for the names of children celebrating their birthdays in the shelter. Named after the protective cover of the umbrella, her approximately 60 volunteers, “Cover Girls,” bring cupcakes, balloons, and small toys so that children aren’t overlooked.
When Cuban-American Navarro heard Adriana’s 15th birthday, she knew the importance of the opportunity. And she decided to wake up Quinceañera.
Miami realtors and longtime cover girls El Montero and Tadia Silva were accustomed to successful events with scarce resources. But when they scanned the bare room of the Miami Church, which was full of wood and some tables, they thought: this is impossible.
Then they tried to do the impossible.
They have already settled on the Parisian theme, feminine and floral, and recalled the vintage trunk with a large brass buckle that Silva kept. They found a small gold Eiffel tower, put cupcakes in a delicate floral teacup, filled an elegant glass jar with pastel macaroons and sweet madeleines, and finished each table with a pink floral centerpiece.
Nearly 50 cover girls participated. Some donated money, others donated food and services. A make-up artist gave Adriana her first make-up lesson, a hair stylist put her shiny dark rock in a soft curl, and a professional photographer took three hours to shoot the event.
“We want them to have these memories. They have to believe they are worth it,” Silva said. “Some people aren’t good because they think they can’t do it well because it’s conditioned that this is their destiny, but they’re slowly recovering.”
The Cover Girls piled up all of their wishlists, bracelets and purses, pajamas and gift cards on Adriana’s table, stripped off the wrapping paper and laughed like a proud aunt.
She danced with her father, shook towards Ed Sheeran’s “photograph” under a palm tree, and many of the new Godmothers wept with joy.
As the party was nearing its end, Adriana pushed a handwritten note into her hands. She stopped English and thanked Godmother for her magical memories.
“I felt like a princess,” she said.
Miami Associated Press writer Adriana Gomez Licon contributed to this report.
“One Good Thing” is a series focused on individuals whose actions bring brilliance of joy in difficult times. It’s a story of people who have found a way to make a difference, no matter how small. Read the collection of stories at https://apnews.com/hub/one-good-thing
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